Friday, February 24, 2017

Influenster: EcoTools Makeup Brushes

These EcoTools products were sent free from Influenster for testing purposes.

I have an EcoTools Finishing Powder brush that I received form Influenster a while back that I quite enjoy. When I saw that I was on the list to get the EcoTools brush box I was stoked.

I ended up enjoying most of of the items in this box with one exception, those cleansing wipes. But I will get to that in a moment. EcoTools

I appreciate that the brush types include their name on the handles. Most makeup junkies know their brushes but this is a nice touch for those who are just getting into using more than the sponge applicators in the eyeshadow quads. The pouch holds all the brushes in the set plus more if needed and closes with a single center snap. A set similar to this EcoTools Starter Set (no bag and the brushes are slightly different but it is called an EcoTools Starter Set) runs $12.99 at Target. 

I have been using these brushes for the past week and I like them. The bristles are baby soft yet firm enough to get the job done without flopping all over. The concealer brush is a bit small for me but I use it for all over lid color on the eye anyway. The angled liner is nice and straight but a little too thick for my tastes. I use it more for the corner "v" shading rather than actual lining of either the top or bottom lids. Plus it is nice for a precise highlight line under the brows. The blush brush is my new go-to. Love it so much that I quickly gifted my Sonia Kashuk blush brush to my littlest for playing and moved this one up into my everyday rotation. It doesn't shed hairs like my old Sonia Kashuk (all over my face and chest). The shader is nice and the spoolie is pretty sweet for eye brow combing. 

This larger single face powder brush is nice. It is soft, picks up powder and applies it nicely. It has not booted out my Kat Von D Finishing Face Powder brush from my routine but it is nice to have as a back up. ($7.19 at Target)

These fellas. I wanted to love them but I just don't. It takes way too much elbow grease to remove even a bit of makeup from my brushes. These are supposed to be a quick spot clean in between heavy duty cleaning, but it is faster and more effective for me to just wash my brushes with real soap. I have a lot of brushes with white tips and they turn brown really quick with use. These wipes did not even lighten them up anywhere close to white for me to feel it was even spot cleaning. I use these to wipe down my sink area after applying makeup, or wiping down my makeup compacts and cases. ($6.99 at Target)

These guys are a pretty close dupe of the Beauty Blender. I have an original Beauty Blender my mom put in my Christmas stocking about 4 years ago and I use it once in a while when I do a major full face (to apply my Kat Von D foundation). After wetting and squishing these guys for a little while they feel just like a Beauty Blender, though their shape is a little different. I used the wedge end to apply my Nars Tinted Moisturizer and it worked nicely. My only drawback on these is that they waste so much product. I get the same effect using my fingers and half the amount. And with my pricy foundation, I like to use it sparingly if I can. But if I was ever in the market for a new makeup sponge I would buy this one over the Beauty Blender. It is just as nice but costs much less. ($9.99 at Ulta for this duo, the Beauty Blender runs about $20 for a single one.)

After really getting this chance to immerse myself in EcoTools more fully, I like the brand. The brushes are reliable work horses. I would not hesitate to buy more to flush out my brush collection. The sponges were satisfactory. I would not buy the makeup cleaning wipes. Do you enjoy EcoTools? What brushes do you rely on in your beauty routine? Are you a blending sponge fan?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Olfactif Artisan Perfume Subscription: January

It has been a little while since I have featured an Olfactif box here on the blog. I have still been happily having them arrive at my door. I wanted to showcase January's box since there are a few changes here and there. The monthly unisex box is still run on a theme, this month's is Purple, but the placard that normally lays out the theme and fragrance information evolved into a sleek black envelope with silver embossing. One card describes the theme of the month and each fragrance gets its own card outlining the perfume house as well as the scent. Included in the box were fragrance testing strips inside a glassine pouch. The subscription is $18 and comes with an $18 discount code to use with any of the scents featured that month. 

Lilac Love by Amouage- Notes include: Jasmin, rose, gardenia, peony, heliotrope, orris, cocoa bean, tonka, sandalwood, patchouli, and vanilla.
Initial spray releases an efflorescence of sunny jasmine and flushing roses, creamy gardenias and pompons of peonies. This multihued nosegay lasts all of a whiff before turning faintly indolic and wrapping itself in the powdery lavender mantle of lilacs and orris. The dry down darkens to a maroon warmth of chocolate woods, sweet with wrinkled tonka beans. A soft grounding of sandalwood leaves the ending plush and soft. A beautifully complex scent that is alluring from start to finish. Amouage does not disappoint.

Lalibela by Memo- Notes include: Coconut orchid, jasmine, rose, patchouli, rock rose, vanilla, tobacco, frankincense, and labdanum resin. 
Tropical heat emanating from the purple hued sand reflected in a sunset mirage. Dark coconuts exhale in the passing trade winds. Exotic flowers dancing in the dusk with vaporous shadows. The heart of Lalibela is powdery and mysterious, slightly earthen.

The Mauve by The Sum- Notes include: Tea leaves, fresh lavender, oak. 
Peppery and clear, the oak gives her green sap. Steely buds of lavender flow in cool, then warm on the skin to an aromatic haze. The scent feels clean and refreshing without ever veering into boring or trite territory. The freshness of standing on craggy hilltops, where verdant herbs and icy flowers and warm white woods all coalesce their essence into the air surrounding.

If I had to choose just one to covet it would be Lilac Love. The sandalwood at the base really is stunning. Sadly, at $400 it is a bit out of my league. The $18 off just wouldn't even scratch a dent in that one. The scent I would be most likely to buy would be The Mauve. At $85 it is very affordable and even more so with the discount. Lalibela runs $210.

Do any of these sound like your cuppa? Do you have any new fragrance finds?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Candles From The Keeping Room: January 27th Order

I am a slacker. I have been sitting on this gorgeous Candles From The Keeping Room order since February 1st. I opened them. Smelled them. Gifted some. But with the chaos of Savanna's birthday, camping, packed weekends and uterine mayhem I just have not gotten around to properly showcasing my order and talking about some new to me scents. And you know what? This still really won't be proper as I am not including scents I have bought time and time again. I will mention those repurchases at the end. This order was from January 27th. I love Carol's cart hold. Because if you can be quick enough to fit it in there, it is yours. And I did a Super Market Sweep this opening.

Strawberry Noel Fluff- A sweet creamy blend of Fresh Picked Strawberries, Vanilla Bean Noel and toasted marshmallow. The strawberry is the strongest. I just love this scent, strawberries and a little creaminess. 

Jill's Strawberry Cream Filled Jelly Roll- One of my favorite strawberry and bakery blends ever. Fresh Picked Strawberry, sweet jelly donuts and whipped cream. For my nose it is a true strawberries and cream aroma. A hint of cakey vanilla donuts are added to the bliss and perfection is born.

Strawberry Parfait- I believe Carol's parfaits are ice cream and cake desserts. This one tastes, I mean smells, like a more tart and sweet version of the original Fresh Picked Strawberry. This reminds me of the macerated strawberries and syrup I make to pour over pound cake and top with whipped cream this time of year. Here in central Florida it is strawberry season. This scent overall is a more candied and tart version of FPS to my nose.

Molasses Cookie- Cookies with ginger, butter, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, walnuts, maple, molasses, vanilla and sea salt. That is quite the listing of notes! This is a rich, spicy cookie where the molasses comes across as a little bit almond and anise. Amazing.

Cinnamon Broom- A fantastic cinnamon. Fiery hot and zingy with just a hint of that wooden broomstick. Steals my heart. And these shapes are so cute.

Sugar Cookie Corn Pudding- Mmmmmm! This one is hearty. Sugar cookie with caramelized sweet corn and cream. It has been far too long since I had a good sugar corn pudding tart. This one will hit the spot.

Maple Cashmere- Maple, woods, musk and vanilla. The slight green note stands out among the sweet softness and kind of throws me off. It is an interesting blend but probably not one I would buy again. 

Maple Buttercream Sugar Cookie- However, this maple one I would. By the truckload. Maple, caramel and vanilla merge in a vanilla heavy sugar cookie that is covered in buttercream frosting. A splendid cookie! 

Apple Sage- Green apple, pine, eucalyptus, sage and musk. The eucalyptus is strange for me in this one. It melted strong and threw those sweetly tart Granny Smith apples and that little tang of eucalyptus through the house. It is a well done scent, but not my jive.

Beach House- Lime, eucalyptus and coconut. This is a dupe of an Avon scent according to the CFTKR website. I quite like it. It does a wonderful job of bringing to mind our vacations on Anna Maria Island. I miss those. The coconut and lime pair wonderfully and the eucalyptus adds subtle herbal greenery. 

Balance and Glow- Not sure what all is in this one but it smells lovely. A cotton candy sweet fruity floral. It has a soft island girl lean to the cotton candy. I loved the sample I got of this and knew I would want more. It smells like it would be a dupe of some type of BBW or VS perfume.

Mediterranean Garden Spa- Smells just like it sounds. A muted herbal spa blend that highlights violet, lavender, rosemary and bergamot. Beautiful for spring.

Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins- A blend of vanilla, buttercream, coconut and heliotrope. Sometimes this scent has a touch of mint to it but I don't detect that in this one. I love Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins oil. There is a slight plastic note but it does melt off to reveal a wonderful coconut vanilla dessert-like creaminess with a medium-strong throw.

I Want Cake- This is a dupe of the Tokyo Milk Let Them Eat Cake perfume I think. Heavy on coconut and vanilla with a trail of sweet musk and orchids floating behind. I am not sure why it took me so long to finally buy this one. I love it. 

Three Wishes Tea- This is a fabulous fragrance of rooibos tea infused with peach and light florals, rose and marigold to be exact. Overall it has a slight holiday feel to it with the fruits and tea and slight spice of the flowers. But that is probably just me. 

Mulled Wine- This one without a doubt does smell like holidays! Apple cinnamon wine? Yes, please. I melted this one over Christmas and it was strong throwing with spicy fruit and richness from the wine. A Christmas sangria.

Bogeyman- Geranium, bergamot, Indian spices, amber, woods and musk comprise this spooky fella. He can jump out from under my bed any night. The Indian spices have a masala vibe and the amber and musk and woods come together to create a spiced amber high end candle aroma. This is a fast favorite.

Free Samples:

Lavender Berry Fluff- Herbal lavender and muted mixed berries. 

Spun Rainbow Sherbet- Tart citrus and candied raspberries.

Bamboo Type- Beautiful smooth green woods. Refreshing and meditative.

Cashmere Forest- Blonde woods and musk. Love it.

Spearmint Eucalyptus- A relaxing blend that brings to mind Bath & Body Works Stress Relief blend. 

Wedding Cake- Like Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins, this is one of those vanilla heavy scents that blooms when melted rather than on cold.

Winter Ambrosia- I pick up cherries and a little spice. More fruity than spicy though. Bright and cheery.

Yum Yum Buttery Rum- Mmmmmm, Butter Rum Lifesavers and a dash of extra boozy rum, maybe just a pinch of coconut. Need more. Reminds me of Butter Beer and it is magical.

Patchouli Chocolate- A velvety gorgeous blend of dark, rich patchouli and roasted cocoa beans. It puts me in the frame of mind of Serge Lutens Borneo 1834. I would love to have more of this one. Desperately.

Ginger Patchouli- Muted ginger with a touch of earth. There is something a little cloying in it that I cannot quite put my finger on. I think I find it hard to enjoy ginger scents in wax.

Kashmir Archipelago Type- A powdery musk with soft florals. Very pretty.

Monster Jam- Mixed berries, white sugar and a dash of creaminess. 

Sun Kissed Sugarcane- Guava, citrus and tropical nectar. I have no idea if that is what is in here but that is the vibe it gives me. I love this. So much. It is the perfect blend for this Florida gal. Especially for summer. 

Some others I purchased but did not feature here (but that I love so much I buy them again, over and over again in some cases): Fresh Picked Strawberry, Amish Quilt, White Cedar Forest, Ultimate Sugar Cookie, Blue Cedar Lavender, Moroccan Mint, Baked Apple and Serendipity Marshmallow Delight. I did buy Angelica for the first time but gifted it to my mom who I knew would love it and I bought Cashmere and Silk but gifted it to my step-mom. There are also a few samples missing here that I gifted to my sisters. 

I love my order, as usual. Bags run $5.50 and hold 6 ounces of wax. I prefer to use her UPS shipping option. The turn around time is lightening fast, only a few days. Have you tried any new scents from Candles From The Keeping Room? Any samples you are loving right now?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Warmed Wax: Candles From The Keeping Room

Pink Sugared Strawberries- Medium-strong to strong throw in the kitchen and living area, extra sweet Fresh Picked Strawberry with that luscious cotton candy and caramel sweetness from Pink Sugar. I would say 50/50 Pink Sugar and FPS scent. Loved it and would repurchase. It did get a little cloying towards the end when the berries wore off after several hours. But dump around then and you should be fine.

White Cedar Forest- This one is a bit of a misnomer. I don't get any cedar in this scent but I really don't care if it was named Witch's Cold Fanny. It smells incredible. The throw is strong in my bedroom but not obnoxious. Coconuts and vanilla musk and light woods with a hint of spice waft all about, casting an enchanting atmosphere. If I can grab a bag of this every time I order from Carol, I sure dang will try.

Bonus: Ten Digit Creations Rosewood & Amber- It is almost a pain to review this one as it is a discontinued scent :-( and I want to cry a little just thinking about that. A solid medium-strong scent of beautifully powdered rosewood, roses and sultry amber on a bed of musk. One of my favorite scents of all time. Not a repurchase as it is impossible. >insert broken heart here<

I am climbing out of a slight rut. Trying to find time to carve out some reading and relaxing with purpose, if that makes any sense. I feel like there are so many things I want to do but just not enough time to go around. I used to not have this problem. If I wanted to do something, I just did it. Maybe I should just shelve some things for the summer to do, the quilts and such. 

I still find time to order though... pending orders: FuturePrimitive wax, Moonalisa wax, The Bathing Garden order to be split with a friend, Lasting Scent Candles, an Arcana perfume order and an Archaic Honey body butter order. 

Do you have any pending orders? Waiting on something fun to arrive? Do you schedule in things you want to accomplish?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Rosegirls: January 7th Pre-Order

Rosegirls opened for pre-orders on January 7th and this was my small order from that opening. It arrived around February 17th.

A half pie in Posh Pristine Peach which blends watermelon, peach and pomegranate and ran $20 for 14 ounces of wax. The peach is peppy and jovial, much like the sweetly sour Jolly Rancher candies. Watermelon adds mellow coolness and the pomegranate brightens it up a little. It is a wonderfully juicy summer blend.

Save the Drama For Your Mama is an old school favorite of mine from when I first got into Rosegirls years ago. It is a Pink Sugar and Monster Cookie combo. The cookie is a little stronger than the pink sugar and it has a bready dryness to it. A definite crunch. Two muffins come in a pack for $7.00.

The last thing I purchased from this pre-order was a muffin pack in Ooey Gooey Caramel Tobacco. The tobacco comes from a popular Caramel Tobacco blend a lot of vendors use. It has a little edge to it, some oakmoss astringency. The Rosegirls Ooey Gooey Caramel add thick sugary nectar to the tobacco. It is a fabulous blend and I cannot wait to melt it. 

I always look forward to seeing what new blends and what old time favorites she chooses for the pre-orders. I keep crossing my fingers for a couple of scents. We shall see. Do you have any you would request if you could? What would they be?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Isshin Do Honpo Godzilla Face Pack

This was a gift from my friend Ashley, and it cracked me up. This Isshin Do Honpa Godzilla face pack sports a heaping helping of hyaluronic acid, hydrolyzed collagen, water soluble collagen and vitamin C. 

The back of the pack is freaking hilarious. The lady on the back is even doing creepy monster fingers while she wears her mask. I suffered under no such delusions as I was creepy enough without monster finger wiggling.

The mask was textured with bumps that felt like rough scales on the outside. An abundant amount of serum saturated the mask and it leaned on the oily side, providing emollient moisture. If scaly lizard skin is a concern of yours, this would do well to vanquish that issue. 

Beardie, however, likes his scales just as they are, pointy and dry.

I mean how cute is he? Though he isn't as cute as Van Gogh... and there's a mask for that.

Enough lizard and Godzilla gazing. Bottom line is that I got a kick out of the mask, it worked well and I would buy one again one day. Sadly, this company does not direct sell to the US but there are other outlets like Amazon and eBay that sell these masks. I would use this mask again even if just for the fun factor despite the fact that my kids and husband are so immune to my masking shenanigans they don't even blink an eye at me as I roam the house looking like Godzilla.

Next time... cat masks.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Solstice Scents: Witch's Cottage and a few others...

Ah! Solstice Scents. I could scan and browse and window shop at Solstice Scents all day. Reading the descriptions, scent notes and even just the names while gazing at the evocative photography sweeps me off to day dream adventures. Angela, the nose behind Solstice Scents, announced on Facebook that she would be retiring some of the Autumn offerings once they ran out. That spurred me on to window shop in earnest to bring some of those fall goodies home. 

Witch's Cottage- Notes: Warm baked goods, dry herbs, Sweet Annie, soft woods, fragrant hearth smoke. 

"Sweetly spiced cauldron cakes full of raisins and a dash of rum lie steaming on a knotty wooden platter. The cheery gingerbread cake aroma is cut with the barest hint of smoky woods and sweet amber. This witch could lure me by the nose into her cottage any time."

I wrote that mini review back in October when I first sampled Witch's Cottage. It still pretty much sums up my experience. On first spray the spiced and peppery ginger pulls through with just a shallow slice of green herb peeking out. The heart of the Witch's Cottage unfolds with those boozy dark fruits marbling the ginger cakes, curling ribbons of smoke escape the stone oven where they were baked. The wooden embers inside winking out from the ancient bricks. After the evening taps out its last heart beat under the silent eye of nightfall, all that lingers in the cottage is the familiar yet mystical vanilla deep with amber resin and woods.

This full (60 ml) bottle of EDP strength fragrance cost $75.00.

Love the rustic branding and labels. The frosted glass and shiny black caps are well done. Of course, I had to sample a few extras. Samples of EDP fragrances come in a 2.5 ml spray and cost $8.00 each.

Foxcroft- Notes: Decaying leaves, rich black soil, dry leaves, fall air, woods, chimney smoke. 

Angela paints with notes in a very real sense. Skeletons of leaves, bones breaking, the husks of chloroplasts shattering, rain on the dank humus below. This trembling copse on the outskirts of a quaint New England village lays its leaves to rest one after the other in the eucalyptus breeze. A rickety wooden rail fence lines the rutted road, pointing splintered fingers towards town and the chimneys casting smoke clouds into the grey sky. Take one last whiff of the tiny wood before stepping toward Foxcroft. The blonde mahogany and birch will linger, a farewell kiss on the flesh.

Snowmint Mallow- Notes: Peppermint, vanilla cake, sugar cookies, flaked coconut, marshmallow creme.

Peppermint icicles dripping clear vanilla in the opening. Quickly melting under the warmth of creamy coconut and spongy white cakes, the vanilla takes on a robust softness that was chilled crystal a moment before. The drydown is a downy layer of tonka and marshmallows that I want to pull up to my chin and wallow inside of, a vanilla coconut cocoon. A delight.

Gehenna- Notes: Red musk, Dragon's blood resin, burning wood, Somalian myrrh, Egyptian musk.

Oh man. This one. This is a joss stick in a tiny glass cylinder. This encapsulates my first college experiences in Gainesville shopping in New Age stores and Ward's natural market, surreptitiously trying to burn incense in the scholarship house. Soft musks and florals lead into that earthy tang of mouldering carnations, dried patchouli and wooly incense. The serene base drapes velvet cedar and dusky myrrh into folds of tenderness on the skin, light and smooth as joss ash.

Free sample:

Butter Rum Mallow- Notes: Rum, marshmallow, nutmeg, cardamom, clove, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar and allspice.

Peppery allspice and nutmeg flakes dust the senses in the succor of spice. Bucolic kitchens shimmering under the haze of heirloom spices and warmth. After the spices introduce themselves, that butter rum flows in underneath. Never too sweet and very much realistic. Those primitive spices of cinnamon and clove, nutmeg and cardamom all lend just a hint of woody earthiness to the scent. 

I love them all. 

I am already wishing for a roller-ball oil of the Butter Rum Mallow, a full bottle of Snowmint Mallow and more Gehenna and Foxcroft. Somehow. Who knows. Maybe I can mow a few lawns....

Do any of these scents ring your chimes? Have you sampled Solstice Scents yet? Are you eyeing any of the Valentine's releases? Do tell!